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Questions Answered by Richard Sternberg
2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: Hello! My case is about intestacy and lawyers as personal representatives in the State of Maryland (Montgomery County).

My mother passed away last year and I was placed as the PR. I handled all her debts and creditors but, did not file the first account. Due to the delay in filing, there was a hearing (without my knowledge) and I was taken off as PR and a lawyer was placed in. He wants to sell the real estate... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 12, 2019

Mr. Oakley is spot-on. You are telling us far too little to help, and you should not tell us more in an open forum like the web. You need a consult with a lawyer. But, from what I can glean from your facts, it looks like you were removed for gross incompetence because you failed to file the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: What options do tenants have if landlord disconnect wifi, additionally wifi, cable and the like were included in lease

VA residential lease

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 9, 2019

You should chat with a lawyer first to ensure you are within the letter of the lease, but, if WiFi is included in the lease, you are very likely within your rights to purchase a replacement of the contracted services and deduct the cost, including installation and services, from the rent. Giving... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Public Benefits for Maryland on
Q: My father recently passed and had a TIC Property with my stepmother. Who is responsible for mortgage

Property owned TIC by father and stepmother. Father dies. House sells for 600k with 200k Mortgage. Is mortgage responsibility of Entire estate, or is wife solely responsible?

I.e. should we pay mortgage from the 600k and then divide the remainder to my stepmother and my fathers heirs. Or... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 7, 2019

Since your fact pattern includes that the mortgage was signed by both parties, the mortgage belongs to both parties, and your father's estate is responsible for his half in a tenancy in common. In any event, the closing agent is going to pay off the mortgage at closing and disburse the balance to... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: I recently had a flood in my commercial rental ( I am a dentist renting a property for my private practice)..manager

Wont provide insurance information, as he said once the water is cleaned up he doesnt have to take care of damages or lost wages on my employees or even damage to my floors. What can I do?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 1, 2019

Read your lease. Contact your rental premises, business loss, or other insurance policies (other than your professional malpractice policy). Meet with a lawyer now. Commercial rentals are not residential rentals, and the lease means what it says, but what it says may be subject to favorable... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: City is denying my claim with a ridiculous reasons, for damages caused by a dead tree that fell onto my garage? Options?

I live in Baltimore City, MD & I own my house with a detached garage behind. In July a dying tree on city property fell over & caved in my garage roof. The city is denying responsibility because I "didn't call them to tell them the tree was dying". But in actuality in August of 2018 I called to... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 26, 2019

If the structure is insured, make your claim and tell the insurer. They may wish to have you subrogate the claim to them to collect against the City. Once they pay for the damage, the proceeds from recovery usually belong to the insurer if they made a right of subrogation part of the policy. That's... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Animal / Dog Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on
Q: Can I challenge the legality of Va. Code 18.2-136 "Right to Retrieve" in appellate court?

Owners of hunting dogs can access private property with or with out permission of the owner at any time. In fact, by code, a property owner can't deny access to private land under any circumstance.

I think the General Assembly has this wrong. How can I challenge this in court. Seems like... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 26, 2019

One thing I love about law practice is that I keep learning new things 35 years after I started practice and about 29 years after I became a Virginia lawyer. Interesting Code section. A trip to a real library rather than the Internet version would get the history of the statute first enacted before... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can 5-206 of the MD corp & Assn Code be used to modify the by-laws of an organization (HOA in this case) without quorum?

Our HOA is trying to introduce an amendment to modify the by-laws. They have notified (via mail) that if they fail to achieve quorum at the first meeting, tonight, that a second meeting will be called using 5-206. Presumably that meeting will be in mid-December. We are owners and previous residents... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 26, 2019

Your situation sounds like a growing number of those kinds of cases we are seeing. Condo boards are taking steps to cut or eliminate remote ownership. Unfortunately, I see no alternative but to retain counsel to review the entire bylaws and the process as measured against the Code and to look for... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Gov & Administrative Law for Virginia on
Q: Does BOD have authority to apply surplus from a special assessment to LTR?

I'm on a very small HOA BOD. We recently collected a special assessment to fix a washed out culvert. We collected a special assessment based on an estimate we had received from a local contractor. We were able to repair the culvert for less with another contractor.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 25, 2019

The answer may be in your bylaws. Read them or retain a lawyer to read them.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: Is a testamentary will sufficient to avoid probate in Maryland VA even if you own a home?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 20, 2019

First of all, where in Virginia is Maryland? Which state's law is at issue?

Second, a testamentary will is one of the two ways (intestate being the other) to get INTO probate. A Will does not avoid probate.

Third, other than learning it from a poorly written TV script or a...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Banking for Maryland on
Q: Does the buyer's bank have an obligation to complete their actions on a home sale in a certain period of time?

I'm selling my home in Allegheny County and buying another close by on a contingency of selling my house. The purchase of the new house has gone without a hitch. The sale of my current home however has been difficult. Buyer took a lot of time getting final documentation to her bank. Now her... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 13, 2019

You have no privity with the buyer's bank, and they have no duty to you. Indeed, they have a duty of confidentiality with their customer, such that they should not tell you if the real problem here is the buyer. Your contract with the buyer controls your relationship. The buyer's contract with the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Maryland on
Q: Is an AirBNB advertised as a party house legal in a residential townhouse community in Gaithersburg, MD?

Often there a more than 20 people in the house. They violate our parking regulations. Trash our common areas and are disruptive as they come and go any time day or night.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 3, 2019

I just assume you haven't bothered reading your HOA regulations and Covenants and Bylaws, if any. Why don't you start there.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Civil Litigation for Virginia on
Q: We just purchased a house under a Virginia Real Estate contract.

All parties agreed on price and signed. Can the seller back out because the appraisal came in higher than expected?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 28, 2019

It's very likely that backing out "because the appraisal came in higher" will be a breach of contract, but a lawyer reads the actual contract and looks for better reasons that the seller can -- or can be prevented from -- reneging.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: What document can be used to support/prove intestate inheritance in MD for the death of a spouse 21 years ago?

My husband died without a will. All our "known" assets were joint owned so we did not see a need for probate since all he had went to me as surviving joint owner. I need some documented proof of inheritance to claim & sell some previously unknown property out of the country inherited by my... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 28, 2019

There is no statute of limitations on filing a probate. I've filed DC estates that were over 20 years old. Your biggest problem may be that $30,000 was more than a small estate 21 years ago in Maryland, so I think you need to file a regular estate, and the procedures last millennium were less... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: In MD can I be on a sale contract for a home if I’m not taking out the mortgage or can I only be on the deed and title?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 28, 2019

You almost certainly should be named in the sales contract if you will be on the deed unless the sales contract contains a provision for transferring or adding you. The deed should match the contract, and sometimes, it doesn't matter if it doesn't match the mortgage.

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I am trying to find the deed record for a house I am wanting to buy in Va to see if there are any easements recorded.
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 27, 2019

Order a title search from a reputable abstractor. That's what they do. If you you enter a contract contingent on the property being free and clear and the accepted contract is given to a lawyer doing the title transfer as a title agent, the title abstract is usually an included expense.

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can I be sued for $19000 because the basement gets water in it sometimes?

Sold my home “as is” and now I’m being sued by the buyers because when it rains hard water comes into the basement.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 24, 2019

Yes, you can be sued. Indeed, you know that because apparently. You have been sued. If you knew and concealed a latent defect. You can also lose, potentially with treble damages, punitive damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees, depending on where. You need a lawyer now.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Settlement and possession laws?

We closed on our house at 6pm Friday so the documents won’t be recorded until Monday. We’re also still working on finalizing an escrow holdback agreement for repairs seller needs to pay for post closing. It’s now Saturday and the sellers are asking for keys and access back to the property. We... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 19, 2019

You are the owner as of closing without regard to recordation, at least as to the seller, but what form of fantasy would lead you to close with an unfinished escrow agreement for repairs that aren't competed!? How are they to do the repairs? How are you to take occupancy? Who is responsible of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Hey question I my boyfriend and his mother all own a house split 3 ways. My boyfriend and I want to rent our rooms

This is legal even if she doesn’t want it correct cause we have the Majority 66% pull

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 18, 2019

Co-tenancy isn’t majority rules unless the property is held by an entity like a corporation and the shareholders elect a board and president that orders sale. If the property is indivisible, like most homes, each owner has the right to occupy the whole, and each owner has the duty to contribute.... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Does title insurance cover improperly subdivision Issues with the county on a piece of property.
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 18, 2019

Possibly. You should report the issue to the title agent, but the title agent has an adverse interest, since he or she may be expected to correct the problem for free. You might also seek a consult with a local real estate lawyer.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can a HOA Charge you for not power washing a deck that is the Responsibility for them to keep Maintenance of everything.
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 17, 2019

What do the Covenants say about that? Do they incorporate any other documents, like bylaws? Do they create a governance system? Is that governance consistent with your state and sometimes local law? Did that governing body get duly selected in accordance with the applicable rules? Were the... Read more »

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